News We Like to Share: How News Sharing on Social Networks Influences Voting Outcomes (joint with Matthew Shum)

Wednesday 30 January 2019, 1.00PM to 2.15pm

Speaker(s): Kirill Pogorelskiy (Warwick)

Abstract: We study the relationship between news sharing on social media and information aggregation by voting.

Our context-neutral laboratory experimental treatments mimic the features of social networks in the presence of media bias to address concerns that voters getting political news via social media may become more polarized in their voting behavior. Our results suggest that these concerns are warranted: subjects selectively share news that is favorable to their party and take biased news signals at face value in their voting decisions, ignoring news sources. Given these patterns of individual behavior, the welfare implications of social networks reflect the underlying quality of the shared news: with unbiased media, social networks raise collective decision making efficiency, but efficiency deteriorates markedly in the presence of media bias, as news signals become less reliable.

Location: ARC/014 Alan Maynard Auditorium

Admission: All welcome